U.S. closes Jerusalem Consulate, de facto Palestinian embassy, in another sign of worsening relations
On Monday, the United States officially closed its Jerusalem Consulate, the political conduit between Palestinians and Washington, because of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. The new embassy was controversial, with Palestinian leaders saying it showed the U.S.’s clear bias to Israel, and Israel killed over 60 Palestinians and injured 2,000 more during protests of its opening.
While the Consulate has previously operated as the de facto embassy to the Palestinians, that diplomatic work will be operated by a Palestinian affairs unit under the U.S. embassy to Israel.
The Associated Press reports that State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement, “This decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations. It does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip.”
However, the decision to shut down the Consulate is another example of the U.S. prioritizing Israel at the expense and occupation of the Palestinians.
Consul General Karen Sasahara called the move “the final nail in the coffin” for the U.S. to act as the broker of peace.
Daniel Estrin noted for National Public Radio (NPR), “[U.S.] Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a longtime supporter of Israel’s West Bank settler movement whom Palestinians see as their ideological opponent, will oversee diplomatic relations with the Palestinians and Israelis both.”